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COLOMBOSCOPE: A look at Sri Lanka’s interdisciplinary arts festival
with Natasha Ginwala and Anushka Rajendran

COLOMBOSCOPE Artistic Director Natasha Ginwala and 2021 festival Curator Anushka Rajendran introduce Sri Lanka’s interdisciplinary arts festival, the upcoming edition’s premise and the festival’s year-round programmes.

#HeldApartTogether

#HeldApartTogether is a series of online productions that open a window into the artistic community’s present struggles and endeavors in communal resilience. COLOMBOSCOPE commissioned several visual artists, musicians and filmmakers who have been associated with the festival’s network with the wish to sustain primary acts of reading, listening and viewing together. View a selection of featured works accompanied by insights by Natasha Ginwala and Anushka Rajendran below.

Asvajit Boyle and Nigel Perera
Untitled (1), 2020
Audiovisual work

 

Natasha Ginwala: The first in a series of collaborative audiovisual works for the digital realm, graphic designers and electronic music producers Asvajit Boyle and Nigel Perera present a lush ambient soundscape and generative visuals created through ongoing exchange during weeks of curfew. The optics resemble liquid intensity of oceanic phosphoresence and invite a deep dive into the present unknowns multiplied at cosmic scale. Headphones recommended.

Asvajit Boyle and Nigel Perera, untitled (1), 2020, audiovisual work

We Are From Here
Part of the digital series #untiltomorrow
(Episode 4), 2020

 

Natasha Ginwala: In the last dispatch by We Are From Here composed over several weeks, interactions across the neighbourhood are portrayed during Ramazan and Vesak. During the months of fasting, radio gains prominence over television for the Muslim community and so the airwaves and popular music become a pronounced soundtrack in this episode. Celebrations are personalised, quiet and contained, yet hints of seasonal change emerge as restrictions eased. A young neighbour writes letters in Sinhala to the Grama Niladhari on the subject of delayed compensations under the guidance of her mother.

As networks of connection filter through mobile phones and social media feeds, these daily recordings trace the difficulty in movement from city to coastal areas, and trials of families separated in the time of pandemic. #untiltomorrow disrupts the online trends of privilege and nostalgia to examine the shape of everyday life from the collective’s view.

We Are From Here, part of the digital series #untiltomorrow, (episode 4), 2020

Areez Kratki
Studio documentation

 

Anushka Rajendran: Areez Katki has been corresponding with us from New Zealand, where life has largely returned to normal following the peak of the pandemic. During the lockdown, while exhibitions of his works were delayed for a more suited moment, Katki was contemplating the intense proximity to domesticity that our collective isolation brought about, through the materiality of paper surfaces around him. Repurposed brown parcel paper and butter paper lent themselves to a series of gestural, abstract compositions based on studies of linguistic scripts, juxtaposed with colour and form annotations inspired by readings of theosophical texts, namely Annie Besant’s ‘Thought Forms.’

Katki also shared with us a recently concluded essay, woven from fragments of his writing on growing up in Howick, a small suburb in East Auckland, where his family settled when they immigrated to New Zealand in 2002, that was meant to be a part of the now re-scheduled exhibition, ‘It’s Never Too Late To Learn’, at the Ararimu Valley School cottage in Howick Historic Village, whose title and concept emerged from a blackboard inscription he discovered at the site. ‘Untitled Handkerchiefs 1-31’, a gestural documentary series of panels on historic [100-180 year old] cotton muslin and voile handkerchiefs that were bequeathed to him, now wait for September for public viewing as they hang in his studio among other incomplete works. 

To view all the contributions, click here.

COLOMBOSCOPE

COLOMBOSCOPE is a contemporary arts festival and creative platform for interdisciplinary dialogue that has grown steadily within the cultural landscape of Colombo since 2013. The festival has worked with a range of intergenerational artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, social theorists and scientific researchers from Sri Lanka and internationally delivering a focused programme with each festival edition held at key historic sites in Colombo. Several of the cultural practitioners participating in COLOMBOSCOPE have gone on to show their work within regional and international exhibitions. The festival organisers are committed to building a sustainable and context-responsive environment for cultural producers to continue generating path-breaking, collaborative and genre-defying approaches in the field.